85. Christianity in Five Verses

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Aaron Puls shares the Doctrine of Justification with Andy Wrasman and Jonathan Rutherford, using Dr. Rod Rosenbladt’s sermon “Christianity in Five Verses” as a guide.

Justification is God’s declaration that sinners are innocent on account of Christ’s death on the cross that atones for all of our sins.  This is pure gift!  We are declared innocent, though we are guilty.  Justice is still served, since the penalty for our sins were paid in full by Jesus of Nazareth.

Objective Justification is a doctrine that states that Jesus died for all sins, past, present, and future, for all people.  Individual receives the benefits of Christ’s saving work through faith, which is the doctrine of Subjective Justification.  This means that though Jesus died for everyone only those who receive the grace he won for us through faith are saved.

Another important doctrine is Sanctification.  Unlike Justification, which is instantaneous, and a declaration of innocence for the sinner, Sanctification is a process.  It is the process of becoming holy.  Though we are declared holy, it does not mean that we are now sinless.  In Justification, we are declared just though we are sinners.  At the exact moment of Justification, the process of Sanctification begins, and it carries on throughout the life of the believer, completed at death, at which time the sinful nature is gone for the believer, once and forever.

Sadly, many Christians look to their Sanctification as the assurance of their Justification.  This is a mistake which plagues the believer with doubt of salvation, leading to utter despair or self-righteousness.  The mingling of Sanctification and Justification points the believer away from Christ’s work inward to each man’s own heart and works.

Aaron plays video clips from John MacArthur, Francis Chan, N.T. Wright, and John Piper.  Do they get Justification right?  Or do they mingle Sanctification and Justification?  Do they point us to Christ for assurance of salvation, or do they point us to ourselves?

Show Links

Dr. Rod Rosenbladt’s “Christianity in Five Verses” Sermon

Dr. Rod Rosenbladt’s “The Gospel for Those Broken by the Church” Sermon

“The Christian Life is Like a Draft of Guinness Stout”

Reconnect Episode 19: “How Do I Know I Am A Christian?”

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The Christian Life is Like a Draft of Guinness Stout

guinnessIf you pour a glass of Guinness Stout, you will see some very dark beer.  Blacker than Black.  If poured properly you will have a nice, thin layer of white head on top.  This whiteness is pure as snow in comparison to the depths of the darkness below.

How is this like the Christian life?

Our lives are dark and stained with sin.

In faith in Christ, when God the Father looks down at us, He does not see the darkness of our lives.  The darkness that demands his wrath.  Instead, He sees the cleanliness in the pure whiteness of the righteousness of his Son, Jesus, that covers us and justifies us as being in a right relationship with God.

This simple analogy has left out any long and detailed explanations of sin and the effects of sin.  It has assumed that everyone understands that Jesus is God and that the Father is God, and that there is another person in the nature of God, and he is the Holy Spirit.  These three persons are distinctly different, but still there is only one God.  Now I’m probably confusing matters worse to state this, but I also didn’t give a definition for righteousness or explain how a loving God has to punish sinners, because he is also just and holy.  I didn’t explain or prove any of this from the Bible, science, philosophy, or logic.  This analogy simply states that our lives are dark and deep with evil, wholly depraved, but that nonetheless, the depths of our depravity are covered and made clean through the perfect life and work of Jesus.  That’s why I can say that . . .

The Christian Life is like a Draft of Guinness Stout!

84. Muslims in America and One Nation Under Which God?

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american-flag-hijab

Part I – The Majority of Muslims in America are Concerned (Fearful?) about Islamic Extremism

I read a recent article by Ken Chitwood, a guest on episode 16 of Reconnect, entitled, “What Does God Require of Us Amid Rising Islamophobia?” that exhorts us to defend the rights of Muslims, reach out to Muslims with compassionate friendship, and to be humble knowing that we cannot rebuild the brokenness of the world on our own (namely, we need God to wholly fix the world).

These points are very good reminders to us for what we need to do and I affirm them throughout the episode, yet with caution.

In the article Ken states, “A recent study by Public Religion Research Institute shows that people who interact with Muslims — even those who have just had a few conversations in the past year — hold much more positive views of Muslims and refugees.”

It seems to be implied that if more Americans just knew Muslims personally and had more knowledge of Islam they wouldn’t be as fearful of Islamic extremism.  However, according to a 2011 Pew Research study the majority of Muslims in the United States are concerned (is that the same as fearful?) about the rise of Islamic extremism within America, as well as a large number of Muslims in America (231,000) that say suicide bombings and violence against citizens can sometimes be justified to defend Islam, while ONLY 33,000 Muslims in America say such attacks on citizens is often times justified.

The report also says, ““A significant minority (21%) of Muslim Americans say there is a great deal (6%) or a fair amount (15%) of support for extremism in the Muslim American community.” This means that one in five Muslim Americans say there is a great deal or fair amount of support for extremism in the Muslim American community? Really? So about 660,000 Muslim Americans say there is a great deal or fair amount of support for Islamic extremism in the Muslim American community.

To support this perception within the Islamic community, the study also showed that 5% of the Muslims in America are favorable of al-Qaeda. That’s 165,000 American Muslims who are favorable of al-Qaeda.

Since such answers come from the Muslims in America, it helps explain why there is a fear of Islam in America? I don’t think it is an irrational fear based on the numbers, especially when we ask how many would legitimately tell the truth about supporting al-Qaeda and suicide bombings while living in America. Then consider that the statistics on these points in Islamic states is extremely high, and the fear is very much understood among Americans. It shouldn’t be dismissed as white America simply not knowing Muslims or Islam, when the Islamic community in America itself has a majority concern for the rise of Islamic extremism in America too!

But the Christian is exhorted to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly as Ken reminds us in his article.  How do we then respond if we are fearful, or simply concerned about Islamic extremism as many of the Muslims in America are also concerned?  Many of the examples Ken gives, we should follow, but I don’t think we ALL should follow them, depending on our family duties and responsibilities, which I explain in this first segment.

Part II – In God We Still Trust

I read quotes from the early founding fathers, statesmen, and presidents of America!  If America is a nation under God, which God are we under?  Wouldn’t the founding fathers’ words best tell us?

The quotes are compiled by Dr. Richard G. Lee in his book, In God We Still Trust.
As usual, both of these parts are connected to sharing the good news of Jesus Christ.

Show Links

Ken’s Article

Ken’s Reconnect Episode

August 30th, 2011 Pew Research Center Study on the Views of American Muslims

January 206 – New Estimate of Muslim Population in America by Pew Research Center

PolitiFacts’s “Is Donald Trump’s Executive Order a Muslim Ban?”

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83. Evaluating the Best Evangelism Conversation Starters

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conversation-starter

In Episode 83 of Reconnect, Wes and Andy kick around some thoughts on a list of spiritual conversation starters compiled by Southern Nazarene University.  To frame the discussion of this list of questions, they use three evaluation points for evangelism conversation starters as laid out and described by J. Warner Wallace in his article, “The Best Question To Ask When Starting A Conversation About God?”: Diagnostic, Disarming, and Directed.  In other words, does the question let us know what the other person believes when he answers the question (Diagnostic), is the question easily received and doesn’t cause the person to put his guard up and make him want to flee the conversation (Disarming), and is it a question that has a trajectory set on sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Directed)?

Show Links

J. Warner Wallace’s “The Best Question To Ask When Starting A Conversation About God”

SNU’s List of Questions that Wes and Andy Discuss in this Episode

82. Keep the Kids in the Church Service?

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Andy has David Rueter, the Director of the Director of Christian Education Program at Concordia University Irvine, and Jonathan Pratt as guest on this episode of Reconnect to share their thoughts on why it’s beneficial to the Body of Christ to have kids in church services, no matter how young, or how noisy they might be, and why it’s detrimental if we keep them separated.

Anna Mussmann’s article, “Four Reasons It Is Good Your Kids Are Being Too Noisy In Church”, provides a framework for their conversation, as well as research data from David’s Concordia Publishing House book, Teaching The Faith At Home: What Does This Mean? How Is This Done?.

Show Links

Anna Mussmann’s Article – “Four Reason It Is Good Your Kids Are Being Too Noisy In Church”

David Rueter’s Book – Teaching The Faith At Home: What Does This Mean? How Is This Done?

“Children Are Not Welcome In The Church Service”

Jonathan Pratt’s “Criteria For Discernment In Hymn Selection”

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